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GMCR INC.; SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

; INT’L COMMUNICATIONS
CORP.; ISLA COMMUNICATIONS CO. INC., vs. BELL COMMUNICATIONS
PHILS., INC., THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
AND THE HON. SIMEON KINTANAR

(G. R. No. 16496, April 30, 1997)

FACTS: Bell Telecommunications (BellTel) filed before the NTC an


application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to
procure, install, operate and maintain Nationwide Integrated
Telecommunications Services (NITS) and a Provisional Authority (PA) to
effect such. During such application, BellTel has not been given a legislative
franchise to engage in the telecoms service which made in unable to
participate in the deliberations for service area assignments for local
exchange carrier service (LEC) where the petitioners participated in.
Subsequently, RA 7692 was enacted granting BellTel a congressional
franchise.

On July 12, 1994, BellTel filed a second application for a CPCN,


proposing to install 2.6 million telephone lines in 10 years and to provide a
100% digital local exchange network. It also moved for the withdrawal of the
first application, without prejudice, which was granted by the NTC. BellTel’s
application was opposed by various telecommunications companies. BellTel’s
application was referred to the Common Carriers Authorization Department
(CCAD), which found the BellTel’s proposal technically feasible and BellTel to
be financially capable. The two deputy commissioners of the NTC signified
their approval of the CCAD recommendation. The working draft was prepared
by the legal department, was initialed by the two deputy commissioners, but
was not signed by NTC Commissioner Simeon Kintanar.

The petitioners questioned the validity of the PA because according


to them it is the prevailing policy and procedure in the NTC that the
Commissioner has the exclusive authority to sign, validate and promulgate
any and all orders, resolutions and decisions of the NTC and only his vote
counts. BellTel filed two motions to resolve the application and the issuance of
the PA but the NTC did not act on it. In that relation, the petitioners filed an
opposition. Commissioner Kintanar issued then an Order setting said motions
for hearing but did not resolve said motions. However, no hearing was
conducted and it was rescheduled.
BellTel filed a motion to promulgate, after previously filing two
urgent ex-parte motions to resolve application, which was not acted upon by
the NTC. The NTC denied the motion in an order signed solely by
Commissioner Kintanar. BellTel then filed a petition for certiorari, mandamus
and prohibition against NTC before the SC. The Court referred the case to the
CA. The CA granted BellTel’s position. Hence, the petitions for review by the
opposing telecommunication companies and Commissioner Kintanar.

ISSUE: Whether the vote of the Chairman of the Commission is sufficient to


legally render an NTC order, resolution and decision.

HELD: No. Having been organized under Executive Order 146 as a three-
man commission, the NTC is a collegial body and was a collegial body even
during the time it was acting as a one-man regime. NTC is a collegial body
requiring the majority vote out of the three members of the commission in
order to validly decide a case or any incident therein. The vote alone of the
chairman of the commission, absent the required concurring vote coming from
the rest of the membership of the commission to at least arrive at a majority
decision, is not sufficient to legally render an NTC order, resolution or
decision. EO 546, which created NTC under the Ministries of Public Works
and of Transportation and Communication, does not specifically provide that
the NTC is not a collegiate body nor did it mention that NTC should meet an
En Banc in deciding the case or quasi-judicial functions. However, this does
not militate against the collegial nature of the NTC because the Rules of
Procedure and Practice applied by the NTC in its proceedings states that in
cases heard by the Board En Banc, the order or resolution should be reached
with the concurrence of at least two regular members after deliberation and
consultation. NTC Circulars 1-1-93, 31-1-93 and the Order of Commissioner
Kintanar, declaring the NTC as a single entity, are contrary to law and thus
are null and void.

CAPATI v. OCAMPO

We set aside the order of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga in Civil Case No. 3188 which dismissed
the plaintiff's complaint on ground of improper venue.

Plaintiff Virgilio Capati a resident of Bacolor, Pampanga, was the contractor of the Feati Bank for the
construction of its building in Iriga, Camarines Sur. On May 23, 1967, plaintiff entered into a sub-
contract with the defendant Dr. Jesus Ocampo, a resident of Naga City, whereby the latter, in
consideration of the amount of P2,200.00, undertook to construct the vault walls, exterior walls and
columns of the said Feati building in accordance with the specifications indicated therein. Defendant
further bound himself to complete said construction on or before June 5, 1967 and, to emphasize this
time frame for the completion of the construction job, defendant affixed his signature below the
following stipulation written in bold letters in the sub-contract: "TIME IS ESSENTIAL, TO BE FINISHED 5
JUNE' 67."

Claiming that defendant finished the construction in question only on June 20, 1967, plaintiff filed in the
Court of First Instance of Pampanga an action for recovery of consequential damages in the sum of
P85,000.00 with interest, plus attorney's fees and costs. The complaint alleged inter alia that "due to the
long unjustified delay committed by defendant, in open violation of his express written agreement with
plaintiff, the latter has suffered great irreparable loss and damage ... "

Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that venue of action was improperly
laid. The motion was premised on the stipulation printed at the back of the contract which reads:

14. That all actions arising out, or relating to this contract may be instituted in the Court of First
Instance of the City of Naga.

Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion, claiming that their agreement to hold the venue in the Court
of First Instance of Naga City was merely optional to both contracting parties. In support thereof,
plaintiff cited the use of the word "may " in relation with the institution of any action arising out of the
contract.

The lower court, in resolving the motion to dismiss, ruled that "there was no sense in providing the
aforequoted stipulation, pursuant to Sec. 3 of Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court, if after all, the parties
are given the discretion or option of filing the action in their respective residences," and thereby
ordered the dismissal of the complaint.

Hence, this appeal.

The rule on venue of personal actions cognizable by the courts of first instance is found in Section 2 (b),
Rule 4 of the Rules of Court, which provides that such "actions may be commenced and tried where the
defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found, or where the plaintiff or any of the
plaintiffs resides, at the election of the plaintiff." The said section is qualified by the following provisions
of Section 3 of the same rule:

By written agreement of the parties the venue of an action may be changed or transferred from one
province to another.

Defendant stands firm on his contention that because of the aforequoted covenant contained in par. 14
of the contract, he cannot be sued in any court except the Court of First Instance of Naga City. We are
thus called upon to rule on the issue as to whether the stipulation of the parties on venue is restrictive
in the sense that any litigation arising from the contract can be filed only in the court of Naga City, or
merely permissive in that the parties may submit their disputes not only in Naga City but also in the
court where the defendant or the plaintiff resides, at the election of the plaintiff, as provided for by
Section 2 (b) Rule 4 of the Rules of Court.

It is well settled that the word "may" is merely permissive and operates to confer discretion upon a
party. Under ordinary circumstances, the term "may be" connotes possibility; it does not connote
certainty. "May" is an auxillary verb indicating liberty, opportunity, permission or possibility. 1

In Nicolas vs. Reparations Commission 2, a case involving the interpretation of a stipulation as to venue
along lines similar to the present one, it was held that the agreement of the parties which provided that
"all legal actions arising out of this contract ... may be brought in and submitted to the jurisdiction of the
proper courts in the City of Manila," is not mandatory.

We hold that the stipulation as to venue in the contract in question is simply permissive. By the said
stipulation, the parties did not agree to file their suits solely and exclusively with the Court of First
Instance of Naga. They merely agreed to submit their disputes to the said court, without waiving their
right to seek recourse in the court specifically indicated in Section 2 (b), Rule 4 of the Rules of Court.

Since the complaint has been filed in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, where the plaintiff
resides, the venue of action is properly laid in accordance with Section 2 (b), Rule 4 of the Rules of Court.

WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is hereby set aside. Let the records be returned to the court of
origin for further proceedings. Costs against defendant-appellee.
Alfon v. Republic

This is a petition filed pursuant to Republic Act No. 5440 to review an Order of the Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Branch XXIII, dated December 29, 1978, which partially denied petitioner's prayer for a change of name.
Only a question of law is involved and there is no controversy over the facts which are well-stated in the
questioned Order as follows: têñ.£îhqw â£

This is verified petition filed on April 28, 1978 by petitioner Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva
Duterte through her counsel, Atty. Rosauro Alvarez, praying that her name be changed from
Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte to Estrella S. Alfon.

The notice setting the petition for hearing on December 14, 1978 at 8:30 o'clock in the
morning was published in the Times Journal in its issues of July 28, August 5 and 11, 1978
and a copy thereof together with a copy of the petition was furnished the Office of the Solicitor
General (Exhibits C, C-1, C-2 and C-3).

At the hearing of the petition on December 14, 1978, Atty. Rosauro Alvarez appeared for the
petitioner and Fiscal Donato Sor. Suyat, Jr. represented the office of the Solicitor General,
Upon motion of counsel for the petitioner, without objection on the part of Fiscal Suyat, the
Deputy Clerk of Court was appointed commissioner to receive the evidence and to submit the
same for resolution of the Court.

From the testimonial and document evidence presented, it appears that petitioner Maria
Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte was born on May 15, 1952 at the U.S.T. Hospital (Exhibit
A). She was registered at the local Civil Registrar's Office as Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva
Duterte On June 15, 1952, she was baptized as Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte at
the St. Anthony de Padua Church Singalong, Manila (Exhibit B). Her parents are Filomeno
Duterte and Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte has been taken cared of by Mr. and Mrs.
Hector Alfon. Petitioner and her uncle, Hector Alfon, have been residing at 728 J.R. Yulo
Street corner Ideal Street, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila for twenty-three (23) years. When
petitioner started schooling, she used the name Estrella S. Alfon. She attended her first grade
up to fourth year high school at Stella Maris College using the name Estrella S. Alfon (Exhibits
E, E-1, E-2 and E-3). After graduating from high school she enrolled at the Arellano University
and finished Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Exhibit E-4). Her scholastic records from
elementary to college show that she was registered by the name of Estrella S. Alfon.
Petitioner has exercised her right of suffrage under the same name (Exhibit D). She has not
committed any felony or misdemeanor (Exhibits G, G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4).

Petitioner has advanced the following reasons for filing the petition:

1. She has been using the name Estrella Alfon since her childhood;

2. She has been enrolled in the grade school and in college using the same name;

3. She has continuously used the name Estrella S. Alfon since her infancy and all her friends
and acquaintances know her by this name;

4. She has exercised her right of suffrage under the same name.

Section 5, Rule 103 of the Rules of Court provides:

Upon satisfactory proof in open court on the date fixed in the order that such order has been
published as directed and that the allegations of the petition are true, the court shall if proper
and reasonable cause appears for changing the name of the petitioner adjudge that such
name be changed in accordance with the prayer of the petition.
The evidence submitted shows that the change of name from Maria Estrella Veronica
Primitiva Duterte to Estrella Alfon is not proper and reasonable with respect to the surname.
The fact that petitioner has been using a different surname and has become known with such
surname does not constitute proper and reasonable cause to legally authorize and change
her surname to Alfon. The birth certificate clearly shows that the father of petitioner is
Filomeno Duterte. Petitioner likewise admitted this fact in her testimony. To allow petitioner to
change her surname from Duterte to Alfon is equivalent to allowing her to use her mother's
surname. Article 364 of the Civil Code provides:

Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father.

If another purpose of the petitioner is to carry the surname of Alfon because her uncle who
reared her since childhood has the surname "Alfon" then the remedy is not a petition for
change of name.

WHEREFORE, the petition insofar as the first name is granted but denied with respect to the
surname. Petitioner is authorized to change her name from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva
Duterte to Estrella Alfon Duterte.

Let copy of this order be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Pasig, Metro Manila pursuant to
Section 3, Rule 103 of the Rules of Court.

The lower court should have fully granted the petition.

The only reason why the lower court denied the petitioner's prayer to change her surname is that as legitimate
child of Filomeno Duterte and Estrella Alfon she should principally use the surname of her father invoking Art.
364 of the Civil Code. But the word "principally" as used in the codal provision is not equivalent to "exclusively"
so that there is no legal obstacle if a legitimate or legitimated child should choose to use the surname of its
mother to which it is equally entitled. Moreover, this Court in Haw Liong vs. Republic, G.R. No. L-21194. April
29, 1966, 16 SCRA 677, 679, said: têñ.£îhqw â£

The following may be considered, among others, as proper or reasonable causes that may
warrant the grant of a petitioner for change of name; (1) when the name is ridiculous, tainted
with dishonor, or is extremely difficult to write or pronounce; (2) when the request for change
is a consequence of a change of' status, such as when a natural child is acknowledged or
legitimated; and (3) when the change is necessary to avoid confusion Tolentino, Civil Code of
the Philippines, 1953 ed., Vol. 1, p. 660).

In the case at bar, it has been shown that petitioner has, since childhood, borne the name Estrella S. Alfon
although her birth records and baptismal certificate show otherwise; she was enrolled in the schools from the
grades up to college under the name Estrella S. Alfon; all her friends call her by this name; she finished her
course in Nursing in college and was graduated and given a diploma under this name; and she exercised the
right of suffrage likewise under this name. There is therefore ample justification to grant fully her petition which
is not whimsical but on the contrary is based on a solid and reasonable ground, i.e. to avoid confusion.

WHEREFORE, the Order appealed from is hereby modified in that, the petitioner is allowed to change not only
her first name but also her surname so as to be known as ESTRELLA S. ALFON. No costs.

Rura v. Lopena

This case involves the application of the Probation Law (P.D. No. 968, as amended), more specifically Section
9 thereof which disqualifies from probation those persons:
(c) who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by
imprisonment of not less than one month and one day and or a fine of not less than Two
Hundred Pesos.

Petitioner Teodulo Rura was accused, tried and convicted of five (5) counts of estafa committed on different
dates in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tubigon-Clarin, Tubigon, Bohol, denominated as Criminal Case
Nos. 523, 524, 525, 526 and 527.

The five cases were jointly tried and a single decision was rendered on August 18, 1983. Rura was sentenced
to a total prison term of seventeen (17) months and twenty-five (25) days. In each criminal case the sentence
was three (3) months and fifteen (15) days.

Rura appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Bohol but said court affirmed the decision of the lower court.
When the case was remanded to the court of origin for execution of judgment, Rura applied for probation. The
application was opposed by a probation officer of Bohol on the ground Chat Rura is disqualified for probation
under Sec. 9 (c) of the Probation law quoted above. The court denied the application for probation. A motion for
reconsideration was likewise denied. Hence the instant petition.

The question which is raised is whether or not the petitioner is disqualified for probation.

In denying the application for probation, the respondent judge said:

Though the five estafa cases were jointly tried and decided by the court convicting the
accused thereof, yet the dates of commission are different. Upon conviction he was guilty of
said offenses as of the dates of commission of the acts complained of. (Rollo, p, 58.)

Upon the other hand, the petitioner argues:

We beg to disagree. There is no previous conviction by final judgment to speak of. The five (5)
cases of Estafa were tried jointly and there is only one decision rendered on the same date—
August 18. 1983. It could not be presumed that accused-petitioner had been convicted one
after the other for the five cases of Estafa because the conviction in these cases took place
within the same day, August 18, 1983 by means of a Joint Decision, and not in a separate
decision.

Previous conviction, we submit, presupposes that there is a prior sentence or that there was
already a decision rendered which convicted the accused. In this instant cases, however,
there is only one decision rendered on the five (5) counts of Estafa which was promulgated on
the same date. In other words the effects of conviction does not retract to the date of the
commission of the offense as the trial court held. (Id., pp, 8-9.)

We hold for the petitioner. When he applied for probation he had no previous conviction by final judgment.
When he applied for probation the only conviction against him was the judgment which was the subject of his
application. The statute relates "previous" to the date of conviction, not to the date of the commission of the
crime.

WHEREFORE, the petition is granted and the respondent judge is directed to give due course to the
petitioner's application for probation. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

National Housing Corp. v. Juco

134 SCRA 172 (1985)


Applicability of Article 6

Facts:

Juco was an employee of the NHA. He filed a complaint for illegal dismissal w/ MOLE but his case was
dismissed by the labor arbiter on the ground that the NHA is a govt-owned corp. and jurisdiction over its
employees is vested in the CSC. On appeal, the NLRC reversed the decision and remanded the case to
the labor arbiter for further proceedings. NHA in turn appealed to the SC.

Issue:

Are employees of the National Housing Corporation, a GOCC without original charter, covered by the
Labor Code or by laws and regulations governing the civil service.

Held:

Sec. 11, Art XII-B of the Constitution specifically provides: "The Civil Service embraces every branch,
agency, subdivision and instrumentality of the Government, including every government owned and
controlled corporation.The inclusion of GOCC within the embrace of the civil serv¬ice shows a deliberate
effort at the framers to plug an earlier loophole which allowed GOCC to avoid the full consequences of
the civil service system. All offices and firms of the government are covered.

This consti provision has been implemented by statute PD 807 is unequivocal that personnel of GOCC
belong to the civil service and subject to civil service requirements."Every" means each one of a group,
without exception. This case refers to a GOCC. It does not cover cases involving private firms taken over
by the government in foreclosure or similar proceedings.

For purposes of coverage in the Civil Service, employees of govt- owned or controlled corps. whether
created by special law or formed as subsidiaries are covered by the Civil Service Law, not the Labor
Code, and the fact that pvt. corps. owned or controlled by the govt may be created by special charter
does not mean that such corps. not created by special law are not covered by the Civil Service.
The infirmity of the resp's position lies in its permitting the circumvention or emasculation of Sec. 1, Art.
XII-B [now Art IX, B, Sec. 2 (1)] of the Consti. It would be possible for a regular ministry of govt to create
a host of subsidiary corps. under the Corp. Code funded by a willing legislature. A govt-owned corp.
could create several subsidiary corps. These subsidiary corps. would enjoy the best of two worlds. Their
officials and employees would be privileged individuals, free from the strict accountability required by
the Civil Service Dec. and the regulations of the COA. Their incomes would not be subject to the
competitive restraint in the open market nor to the terms and conditions of civil service employment.

Conceivably, all govt-owned or controlled corps. could be created, no longer by special charters, but
through incorp. under the general law. The Constitutional amendment including such corps. in the
embrace of the civil service would cease to have application. Certainly, such a situation cannot be
allowed.